Actually, no! The new cloth diapers are much like using disposable diapers. So easy even the babysitter and daddy can use them! Using cloth diapers adds just an extra load of laundry every day or every few days (depending on the amount of diapers you have). Just think of all the trips to the store and money you will save not having to buy trash bags or diapers.
Why should I use cloth diapers?
There are many reasons to use cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers. First, the impact of disposable diapers on the environment is absolutely devastating. Cloth diapers reduce the amount of trash in landfills and the amount of trees cut down in the production of them. Another little known fact is the amount of chemicals that are in diapers. There are some very toxic chemicals in diapers such as sodium polyacrylate, dioxin, and other nasty dyes. Second, the impact on Mama and Daddy's bank account is equally devastating. If you consider that your child will be changed on the average eight to ten times in a 24-hour period for the first two to three years of life, that is roughly 8,000 to 9,000 diaper changes. The average price for a disposable diaper is about $.40 per diaper. That equates to $3,200 to $3,600 spent on diapers that are just being thrown in the trash and filling our landfills. Although at first it may seem that cloth diapers are expensive, remember that once you purchase them, they will last for years to come. Which also means that your future children will also benefit from them. The other big bonus is that once you are finished with them you can either pass them along to someone else or possibly sell them to another mama that is just starting to use cloth diapers. In the long run, this is quite a reduction in spending compared to disposable diapers. The third reason to use cloth diapers is comfort. Would you want to wear plastic or paper underwear? I didn't think so! Why should your precious little one! They have such soft, sensitive skin. Why not put something just as soft next to it. Once you try cloth diapers you will think of many more reasons why you are glad you chose cloth. Just give it a try!
I am thinking about using cloth diapers, where do I begin?
Getting started with cloth diapers can be overwhelming. In the old days of your Mama's cloth diapers it was easy. Flat diapers and rubber pants. Period. There are so many options now that you can feel like you have just opened up the floodgates and wonder how you can get through it all. Hopefully this guide will help you figure out what fits best for your baby and you! First you have to figure out the lingo. Here are the main types of cloth diapers: Prefolds, Fitteds/Contours, Pockets, All In One's. There are some variations on these diapers such as a pocket diaper that also has some absorbent material built into it, but basically, these are the main types.
Prefolds - Prefolds are the most economical choice in cloth diapering. They are also the most versatile. Prefolds are rectangular diapers with layers of absorbent materials divided into three sections. The two outer sections are less absorbent as the middle section. You will want a prefold diaper that says either 4-6-4 or 4-8-4. This means that the two outer sections have 4 layers while the center sections have 6 or 8 layers. You can choose from Indian and Chinese prefolds, colorful BumWear prefolds or our wonderful 100% organic Vermont Diaper Company French terry prefolds. Indian prefolds are softer but may not wear as long as the Chinese version. The Chinese prefolds may last a little longer but aren't as soft against baby. The 100% organic prefolds by the Vermont Diaper Company are soft, absorbent and very durable. All prefolds need to be washed and dried in the dryer a minimum of 8 - 10 times before use to strip the natural oils that cause repelling. A waterproof cover or wrap is required over prefolds to prevent leaks. Many covers are made so that you do not need to use pins. Most covers are made with snaps and Velcro for easy use and are manufactured from wool, fleece or a waterproof polyester laminate material.
Fitteds/Contours - Fitted diapers look very much like a disposable diaper with Velcro or snap closures. Some fitted diapers with snaps have multiple rows of snaps for a customized fit for your baby. They are more expensive than the prefold diapers. You may want to consider a one size fitted diaper such as Baby Beehinds Fitted Hemp or Bamboo diapers. Not only are these highly absorbent and soft, they are absolutely adorable. Contours are also similar to Fitteds but usually do not have any elastic or closures. They are more like a prefold that is cut in an hourglass shape. Because of this, Contours usually do not hold in messes very well. Both Fitted and Contour diapers require a waterproof cover. An excellent ensemble that I recommend is a Baby Beehinds Bamboo Fitted diaper with a Baby Beehinds PUL Cover. They really do work great together.
Pocket Diapers - Pockets are a little more expensive than the above but have a lot of advantages. Pockets are a two-piece system that includes a layer of waterproofing with another layer of a soft material such as fleece attached that would be next to baby's skin. In the back of the diaper the inner and outer material is not sewn together leaving a pocket. You can use any type of material in this pocket for absorbency. Many people use microterry inserts, hemp inserts or even prefolds. Without a material, or insert, placed in the pocket these diapers have no absorbency at all. These diapers are quick drying and great for running errands as everything can be prepared in advance and take up very minimal space in the diaper bag. You can also use a doubler with these to add even more absorbency. You do not need a separate cover for these. Some examples of pocket diapers that I recommend are Happy Heiny's and Drybees Pocket diapers. Both work great and are so adorable on baby! Also, these are so easy Dad or the babysitter won't mind using them! And if you happen to have an older baby or toddler that has recently figured out how to take off his Velcro diapers, you may want to buy one of the all-new Happy Heiny's Pocket diapers with snaps. They have the same easy to use Velcro but also with snaps to deter little fingers.
All-in-Ones - All-In-Ones are usually the most expensive in the cloth-diapering world because they are the most like a disposable diaper. They have an outer waterproof layer attached to multiple layers of absorbent material. They have either Velcro or snap closures. Usually they are not as absorbent as the other types of diapers, but are great for traveling or going out. Unfortunately another drawback to AIO's are that they normally take quite a long time to dry. Most people do not want to use AIO's all the time, as the multiple washings tend to wear out the waterproof layer quite quickly. One of the new AIO's to address this is the Gro-Baby that gives you a snap in inner with a reusable outer shell.
Come see all the options. If you are unsure give us a call and let us help you make the right decision.
If cared for properly, cloth diapers and covers can last a long time and through many children. The key is how they are washed and dried. The following information is general information on caring for cloth diapers. It will work on most diapers and covers with the exception of wool. Of course, you will want to refer to the manufacturers instructions on each of your diapers as all fabrics are different and this will optimize the life of your diapers.
Generally, there are two ways to handle soiled diapers: the wet pail method and the dry pail method. When using the wet pail method, you place the diapers in a pail that is half filled with water. You may also want to use some baking soda in the water to help with stains and odor. The dry pail method is often
preferred as there isnâ€™t a problem with stale water smell or carrying a heavy pail of soaking diapers to the wash. Basically, the dry pail is simply placing the dirty diapers in a pail that is dry. You can also add baking soda or a deodorizing disk to the bottom of the pail to assist with odors. Prior to washing, make sure to fasten all Velcro tabs and remove all inserts from diapers. To wash, place
diapers in the washer and run through a cold wash cycle to rinse diapers. Next, you will want to run through a hot wash/cold rinse cycle with a very small bit of detergent. It is important that you not use any baby detergents, such as Dreft, as it includes softeners. Fabric softeners will cause a buildup on your diapers that will make them repel the babyâ€™s urine. (If you are having a problem with repelling, please see the question regarding stripping your diapers.) You may also consider using baking soda in your wash and white vinegar in the rinse cycle. Tea Tree Oil also is a wonderful way to help remove odors and bacteria. If you want a special treat put in a few drops of Lavender Oil. After the diapers have been washed you can either put them in the dryer or line dry them. Be aware that the sun has an amazing way of removing any stains. Line drying also will reduce your energy expense of cloth diapers quite a bit! Diaper covers should always be line dried.
What is a wetbag?
A wetbag is a bag specifically designed to be waterproof. Wetbags are generally used to carry used cloth diapers in while you are out or even to store them until washday. Wetbags are also great in the summer for wet bathing suits or clothing. We carry wetbags made by Happy Heiny's that have Velcro closures or Drybees that have zipper closures. Both are excellent.
Which kind of fabric is the best?
There are so many fabrics to choose from!! Among the most common are cotton, hemp, bamboo, and wool. Most of our products also have a version that is organic as well. It really is a personal preference. Cotton is very absorbent, but is usually bulkier than hemp or bamboo. Wool is also wonderful for covers, but requires some special washing considerations and needs to be lanolized in order to be waterproof.
Uh-oh, I had a leak! Why???
First, be sure to always wash your diapers before using. Especially for cotton, you will need to wash them more than once to remove residue. Second, make sure the diaper is a good fit on your little one. Are there gaps around baby's legs? The diaper should be snug, but not tight. Make sure you can't see any into the diaper around the legs. If you can, it is too loose. You may need to adjust the snaps or Velcro or get a different size diaper. Third, if you are using a pocket diaper, is the insert big enough for the pocket you are using? Make sure the insert is completely inside the diaper. Also, make sure baby's clothing isn't tucked in the diaper. Repelling? Is the diaper insert or center of the diaper wet when the baby leaks? If it is, it is possible your baby just wet more than the diaper could absorb. If it isn't, your diapers may be repelling. You may want to consider stripping your diapers if they are repelling baby's urine. Usually this is caused by a buildup of soap on the diapers. It also may be that you haven't washed them enough if they are new.
How many diapers will I need for my baby?
This will really be determined by a number of factors, such as how often you intend to do laundry and last, but certainly not least, your budget. Also, keep in mind that the smaller your baby the more changes he/she will need. You won't need as many diapers in the larger sizes as the smaller ones. Also, don't forget to check out some of the one-size diapers such as Baby Beehinds Fitted Bamboo and Hemp Diapers. These can save you a tremendous amount of money in the long run as they can fit from 8 - 35 pound babies. Here is a guide to start with for a 24-hour period. For newborns you will want to have about 2 dozen diapers. If using pockets or All-in-Ones you will want the same. If you are using fitted or prefold cloth diapers you will also need about 6 - 8 covers. Covers can be used again if they are not wet or soiled. At about 5 months or when baby starts sleeping through the night, you won't need as many diapers. At this time I would say about 15 - 17 diapers per day.
What are some of the additional accessories I might need or want to help with cloth diapering?
There are a number of other products available that may help in certain circumstances. For example, if you have a heavy wetting baby you may want to purchase diaper doublers, which are a very inexpensive way to add absorbency to your diapers. You may also want to get some liners. There are some liners available that wick the moisture away from baby's skin and even others that are flushable so that you don't have to dunk or swirl your diapers in the toilet. I also recommend purchasing cloth wipes rather than using the disposable kind. It makes it so much easier to just add the wipes in along with the diapers rather than having to throw those away. There are a ton of different accessories that you can purchase pertaining to cloth diapers, just look around and see what items fit your family.
What do I do with the disposable wipe when I am done changing baby's cloth diaper?
If you are still using disposable wipes with your cloth diapering system, you may want to consider changing to cloth wipes as well. There are more than a few reasons I say this. What are you going to do with that disposable wipe after you wipe baby's dirty bottom? Everything else is going into the diaper pail or wetbag. You either must search for a place to toss it into the trash (while carrying around this dirty wipe, you will get nasty looks in the mall bathroom) or you throw it in your wetbag and decide you will fish it out of the wash later. If you choose the second option, you will certainly want to get it out before the wash if you have Velcro diapers. Disposable wipes have an uncanny magnetism toward Velcro in the washer. It will get stuck. And it will lessen the effectiveness of your Velcro unless you handpick it all out. In short, use cloth wipes. They are so much easier and available in so many fabrics and colors! You will be quite surprised when a mess that took you four or five disposable wipes will clean up with just one or two cloth wipes! They are also great for cleaning little hands and faces on the go.
How do I strip my diapers and why would I do this?
With proper care, most Mama's will not need to strip their diapers. It is kind of a long, labor-intensive process. If your diapers are repelling urine or you notice that on the rinse cycle of the wash you still have a ton of suds, you may need to strip your diapers. Stripping your diapers is basically washing them over and over again in hot water until all of the soap and oils are out of the diapers.